When it comes to venturing out yonder for an overnighter, a weeklong or an extended vacay, one thing you’re going to have to book is some accommodation at some point. Whether you’re on a tight budget or want some socializing, or prefer a room all to yourself or a cabin all to yourself or have a tent pitched in the middle of nowhere, you’ve got to have somewhere to lay your weary head to rest.
They are all good and well, but after a while, they’re kind of “same, same but different.” Now and again, it’s fun to mix things up a bit, throw out the mundane and stay somewhere different and engaging. Luckily, there are accommodation owners with the same mindset who love to house guests in places that are themed, unusual, bizarre or sometimes random, but always memorable and intriguing.
Making their accommodation an experience are these incredible places scattered throughout Australia, so if you’re looking so somewhere unique and quirky to stay throughout your travels in the realm, these accommodations are worth looking checking out.
- Reefsleep, Whitsundays, Queensland
- Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel, Jibaru, Northern Territory
- The Old Mount Gambier Gaol, Mt Gambier, South Australia
- Kryal Castle, Ballarat, Victoria
- Mira Mira Fantasy Accommodation, Crossover, Victoria
- Notel, Melbourne, Victoria
- Love Cabins, Blue Mountains, New South Wales
- The Canopy Treehouses, Tarzali, Queensland
- Alkira Luxury Holiday Home, Cape Tribulation, Queensland
- White Cliffs Underground Motel, White Cliffs, NSW
- Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottage, Seal Rocks, NSW
The Whitsundays are well known for being the ultimate Australian coastal paradise. Long pristine white, sandy beaches, crystalline blue waters and of course, its central location to the worlds most expansive coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef. Naturally, that means that snorkelling and diving are huge drawcards as there are innumerate amounts of amazing underworlds worlds to uncover.
There’s a long list of incredible places to stay in this region as everybody tries to get themselves a little slice of paradise but if you’re looking for your stay to be a unique, out-of-this-world experience than look no further than Reefsleep.
While you’re not technically sleeping with the fishes in the deep blue sea, this two-day tour separates you from the day trippers and allows you to snooze under the stars and over the ocean on a floating pontoon out by Hardy Reef in the outer Great Barrier Reef.
You can also book additional activities such as scuba diving and scenic flights to make an already unforgettable experience even more so.
Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
Want to know what it’s like to be on the inside of a crocodile? There are plenty of crocodiles in Kakadu National Park that will allow you to do just that, but it’s an activity that’s not highly recommended.
For a much less horrific and deadly experience, the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel within the national park that is shaped like one of these ancient reptiles is much more comfortable and clean than its bloody, murderous, dismembering real-life counterpart.
Aside from its prime location within Australia’s largest national parks, this unique accommodation has a centrally located bladder which allows you to swim in the crocodile’s urinary system, and who wouldn’t want to do that! Okay, it’s a pool, and it’s not filled with croc pee. Jokes aside, it is an unusual, fun themed hotel right in the heart of crocodile country that certainly fits the bill of unique and quirky places to stay.
- If you would like to read a review of my stay at the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel, that post will be up in the next few weeks. Be sure to look out for it.
- For more on Kakadu National Park, click here. There’s also a Gallery.
Mt Gambier, South Australia
Have you always wondered what it would be like to be a little jailbird but the thought of no freedom, unruly inhabitants, toilet bowls right next to your bed have you sticking to the good side of the long arm of the law? Never fear, the Old Mount Gambier Gaol is here!
You don’t have to do the crime to do the time here. And the thought of stripped-back amenities and prison riots aren’t an issue here.
This surprisingly luxurious hotel is kitted out with all the comforts of home (and no toilet bowls near your noggin’) and provides the unique experience of being locked up in a cell without having to live the thug life. As they say on their website, it’s “the only gaol you will be sad to leave once your stay is over.”
For accommodation fit for a king, Kryal Castle is a place that takes you back to when knights sat around a round table and had “walls so high, no one could climb them, but they’re going to try…”
With numerous themed activities to complement the lavishly adorned property such as the Wizard workshop, the maze and the torture dungeon and museum as well as a night show, Kryal Castle will have you entranced for hours.
And in true historic style, you can also stay the night within the confines of the walls with an array of suitably themed rooms that keep the irresistible, rustic magic alive for a little while longer.
Mira Mira Fantasy Accommodation on the southern fringes of the Yarra Ranges National Park certainly fits the category of unique stays in Australia. The property is home to four very different accommodation dwellings, each with a distinct theme with interiors artfully matching the exteriors.
There’s The Cave where you enter through a pancake face that resembles one of those shopping centre coin machines and the Tanglewood which has a fairy/elven, forest theme that would delight the young and the young at heart. There’s also the Japanese Zen that was influenced by Kyoto Palace, and the English Cottage that makes you feel like you’re in the English countryside.
It’s a cornucopia of quirky and it’s rather delightful and makes for the most unique and quirky addition to this list.
Melbourne is famous for its secret laneways, and they are generally a treasure trove of small, atmospheric bars, delightfully quirky stores and incredible artwork. A perfect complement when visiting this world-renowned city and discovering its delightful laneway culture is the Notel.
Situated in the heart of the bustling CBD, Notel is a luxurious roof camping experience where you snooze in one of 6 decked-out Airstream trailers which are the perfect mix of retro and futuristic.
Included as part of your stay is free wi-fi and Netflix, free on-site valet parking, and in-room printer to capture your rooftop moments and let’s not forget the best part, free beer, wine and snacks in your complimentary minibar!
It’s a stay unlike any other, and if you want to share with friends, the whole open deck area is available for an incredible, exclusive rooftop accommodation experience.
Blue Mountains, New South Wales
A nature getaway that is out of this world is the Love Cabins in the Blue Mountains. As the name suggests, the accommodation dwellings out here opulent, romantic and the perfect weekend getaway with your significant other.
Being in the middle of the Blue Mountains, and in the midst of nature, it’s quiet and secluded, which is great because you don’t have to worry about people hearing your midnight rompings. (Except the Dream Cabin, the Wollemi House and the Wollemi House. You’ve got guests, sir!)
There are seven dwellings to choose from: Five are constructed from wood for that rustic charm, while the Enchanted Cave is carved from stone, and the Love Tee Pee is part material, part tin making each cabin unique unto themselves.
Each cabin makes the most of their surroundings by providing large windows to drink in all the scenery and doors that open wide to bring nature in and create a lovely flow from the inside outside.
Just make sure you bring a black light or your own sheets.
For a perfect rainforest getaway, the romantic Canopy Treehouses are hard to beat. These beautifully adorned eco-lodges fit snugly into its rainforest surroundings over the calm, crystalline banks of the Ithica River for an overnight nature immersion that is unlike any other.
Cape Tribulation, Queensland
Are you looking for something that is near the ocean? A place that’s not too far away from the mountains? That is a weird abstract shape with an open pool in the middle situated on its own lake with a private over-lake walkway to access it? If you said yes to all of those things, then the Alkira Luxury Holiday Home is the place for you.
Located on the remote Cape Tribulation headland in Daintree National Park, this unusual accommodation that vaguely resembles the Star Wars spaceship, the Millenium Falcon, will have you feeling like you’ve crashed landed on a planet far, far away. It’s proximity to numerous natural attractions will have you feeling like an intergalactic explorer should you choose to accept your mission to explore strange, new worlds. Okay, that’s now Star Trek. Shh. You might even see some alien humanoids.
Okay, I’m getting off-topic. It’s cool, it’s weird, and it’s luxurious and it’s sure to be a one-of-a-kind overnight experience.
White Cliffs, New South Wales
Coober Pedy isn’t the only digs in Australia that offers the unusual accommodation of being able to take a dirt nap. I mean underground. White Cliffs in far north-west New South Wales offers visitors the chance to stay the night in a large underground complex at the White Cliffs Underground Motel.
It’s a perfect place for a family that is technologically glued to modern-day conveniences to lay their weary heads to rest as there is no mobile phone coverage, no radio, no TV, and heck, there isn’t even a fridge. It’s back to appreciating everything in it’s purest form out here in the desert of New South Wales and staying here is a great way to cap off any outback adventure, especially because it has a pool, and there is no way that’s not a welcome sight.
Seal Rocks, New South Wales
If you’re a lover of lighthouses, capes, and stunning coastlines, the Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages is an incredible accommodation choice. Spacious and luxuriously adorned with a modern-retro feel, these cottages are a stone’s throw away what I can personally attest to is some breathtaking coastline.
Sawtooth Rocks, Treachery Headland and Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse are utterly magnificent, making staying in these cottages an unforgettable experience.
Which of these unique and quirky places to stay tickled your fancy? Was it the Love Cabins with their romantic snowy mountain vibes? Or “rotting away” in a 4-star gaol at the Old Mount Gambier Gaol that caught your interest? Or perhaps the appeal of swimming in a crocodile bladder made you consider a trip to Kakadu?
Whatever it is, I’d love to hear which places you’d like to stay at when traversing across Australia. Do you know of any unique and quirky places that should be on this list? Comment down below.
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